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2nd LA Port

(DISCLAIMER: These statements do not reflect the views of my employer. Thank you!)

10/22

Let’s see, where did I leave off? We had docked in LA, and Molly and I were running errands. After coffee and internet time we ended up going to a nearby Marshalls for random stuff. She needed cheap headphones for the gym and a laundry bag, and I needed a notepad for both myself and Stacey (somehow I forgot to bring one?!). I also got honey for my morning oatmeal, as honey is not readily available in the crew mess. I couldn’t find cinnamon, but did find nutmeg.

Then we took an Uber to a UPS store to collect our packages. We got back to the ship in time to catch the buffet for lunch, then there was a passenger safety drill and two dance band sets. The sets went well. I focused really hard on my improv solo when the time came. One of my biggest issues is that once the solo starts, I forget to keep counting and lose track of the chord changes. So today I tried extra hard to count, and as a result my solo was noticeably better than usual (I know because everyone said so!). Just keep swimming.


10/23

Today is a “sea day”, meaning we’ll be at sea all day on our way down to Cabo san Lucas. Last night the ship’s clocks were set ahead by one hour. Losing an hour of sleep sucks.

It’s a busy day for me, at least up until dinner time. I got up at 8:30 (technically 7:30, eew) and had a nice breakfast with my new oatmeal seasonings. While I was eating I noticed people putting up signs advertising a “kombuka” sale, along with a list of beverages…wine, beer, liquor, soft drinks, and water. Intrigued, I started walking around Deck 4 to see if I could find where this sale was taking place. After a while I noticed crew members dragging bottles of loot from a particular direction, and started walking that way. I still couldn’t find it, but finally stopped a Russian dude carrying three bottles of whiskey to ask. He didn’t speak English at all, but I was able to gesture and flail in a way that said, “Hey, where did you get that?” His hands were full of bottles but he nodded enthusiastically and pointed a finger at the floor. Down. I thanked him and went down to Deck 3. I’ve never been to Deck 3 before today and wouldn’t have known to look there. 

There was a big queue down there leading into an office. The majority of folks in line were wearing blue or white jumpsuits indicating that they worked in some mechanical capacity on the ship. I was the only woman and the only one dressed up. I got a few amused looks, but I was amused as well. Just because I dress nice doesn’t mean I don’t also enjoy a nightcap once in a while ;)

When it was my turn at the office, I handed over my crew ID. The officer at the computer ran it, then asked what I wanted from a list of beverages. The prices were very reasonable, and for a moment I was tempted to stock up. But I just don’t drink all that much. I got a bottle of vanilla vodka. The officer seemed surprised: “That’s it?” Her reaction was pretty understandable, as people were leaving the deck dragging hand carts stacked tall with cases of Coke, water, and liquor. But a liter bottle of vodka is more than I’d ever need. Hopefully the band ladies will help me enjoy it!

I went to a different section of Deck 3 to collect my booze and trekked back to my room to store it. After that I practiced for a bit, then Molly and I had our cherry pie work at the art gallery again (that pretty much paid for the vodka!). From there we went straight into an afternoon dance band set, which went well even though personally I hadn’t gotten much practice time on that music. And right after that we packed up and carried our equipment to the theater, where we did a sound check and then played for the Captain’s Circle club members Welcome Event.

After that, we were basically free for the day! I was very tired, having not slept well the night before, so took a short nap after dinner. In the evening we all went up to the Crew Bar to enjoy a “wine and cheese night” event! It was really nice to have some social time with everyone. The crew bar is basically a rec room just for crew. It has a pool table, couches, a DVD and book library, a small convenience kiosk, and a bar of course!


10/24

We arrived in Cabo san Lucas around 1pm. Before that I woke up and had a nice breakfast, then practiced for a while in the theater stairwell. I had planned to eat lunch and then go to the gym, but as I was packing up Molly (drums) found me. Apparently we were needed in the art gallery for our cherry pie work at the last minute! I ran back to the room and got dressed, careful not to wake my roommate who was still sleeping.

The art gallery wasn’t very busy, so we were only there for about an hour. Afterward we decided to go up to the guest gym, bringing Rebeca (guitar) with us.



I did the elliptical and finished just as we were docking in Cabo san Lucas. This was a “tender port”, meaning that we must drop anchor offshore and use ferries to carry passengers to and from the ship. I traded IPM duties with Rebeca today so that she could get off the ship, because while she has most of the day free I have rehearsal and a show at 4 and 10pm. So since I can’t get off the ship anyway, why not do IPM? And when we are in LA, because Rebeca is not a US citizen she will not be allowed off the ship, so I’m hoping she’ll be willing to take my IPM shift.

Anyway, after the gym I got cleaned up and had lunch in the mess, then had a rehearsal for a disco event later in the evening. Then it was dinner, laundry, and some plain old chill time. At 10pm we had our disco set. It was the Ruby Princess Orchestra horn section (Paula, Nia, and myself) performing with the Party Band consisting of drums, guitar, bass, keys, and vocals. We had a lot of fun playing and the guests had a great time!



Afterward Molly and Rebeca came up to join the party, and everyone started dancing while the Party Band continued with more disco medleys. I was ready to call it a day, so packed up and started heading down to my room. Walking along one of the decks, the breeze was very nice and the lights from Cabo San Lucas were pretty, so I stopped to just enjoy the silence and beauty for a moment. As I was gazing down into the black water, I got a bit of a surprise. This sea turtle drifted to the surface right in front of me. I scrambled to get this blurry photo before he sank back into the dark water.



10/25

Strangely, I have absolutely ZERO work today! I’d love to explore Cabo san Lucas, but we’re supposed to leave at 1pm so I’d have to get up super early.

Instead I thought I’d try the guest breakfast for the first time, just to break up my oatmeal-and-boiled-eggs routine. Guest breakfast is awesome! There was so much to choose from: pancakes, French toast, every kind of egg imaginable, bagels, fish and pork and beef, sausage and bacon, all kinds of fruits…the list goes on. I got myself a yogurt parfait, coconut French toast, an eggs benedict, a roasted tomato, and some fruit. Crew are often not allowed to eat at the breakfast buffet because it gets very busy, so this was a rare treat.



After breakfast I practiced for a bit. There aren’t really any practice rooms here, so we all have to make do with any spaces not in use. I like this stairwell, because it’s close to my room and in a deck area that guests don’t use.


After practice I had a small snack at the crew mess and talked with one of our pianists for a bit, then went up to the piazza to check out some of the shops. I was hoping to find a retractable lanyard, but no such luck. But it was nice to see what the stores carry, because guests will often ask.


Back in my room, I said good morning to Stacey before heading up to the gym. In the evening I went to see my bandmates perform in Magic to Do, a new Princess production show. Though I couldn’t record any part of the show, I did catch these ladies laying down the playoff music! Way to go girls!!



10/26

Today was busy! I had a nice breakfast and practiced a bit, then had work at the art auction with Molly. Afterward we had a piazza set right away, so we ran over there and laid it down. Then I had a short meeting with my boss, basically it’s been a month and she’s checking with all of us to make sure we’re adapting to ship life all right, which I thought was really considerate. Then I had to charge my music tablet, then Nia (trumpet) had to install an update on said tablets so I lost all of my real books! Instead of reinstalling them all I decided to use my iPad for the evening set instead.

The ship seems to be moving a lot today, but so far I don’t feel sick. We still have one jazz set in the evening, and I’m kind of stressed about it already. I dunno, some days I wake up with the mindset that it’s just not going to turn out well, and I don’t know why. Today I think it’s because there’s not much time to practice, so maybe I’m already feeling underprepared. But I need to remember that it’s just one set, and whether there’s time to go over the material or not all I can do at any given time is my best, and that will have to be good enough.

Tomorrow we are back in LA. Rebeca (guitar) and Paula (sax) were kind enough to take IPM duty for Molly and I, so we are going to Target to pick things up for ourselves and other people in the band. Most importantly, Halloween candy!!


10/27

Finally back in the states! It's so nice to have phone service. This morning Molly and Stacey and I took an Uber to Target. I wanted to get a few pieces of clothing and some cleaning supplies. Still no luck finding a lanyard, my goodness! I also picked up some Halloween candy per my boss's request. After that we went to Sacred Grounds again to enjoy the wifi and coffee. Shore leave in LA is very short because that's where we take on passengers, so there's always a passenger safety drill around 3pm and we need to be back an hour before that. But still, any time off the boat is nice!

As we head into our next week of cruising, I hope to get more time in some of the Mexican ports. So far things are going well, I just wish I were a better musician. But maybe with time.